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Golden Suns Seek End to Canale Arena Blues

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Arkansas Tech is 43-4 in women’s basketball since the beginning of the 2009-10 season, so the Golden Suns don’t come across many opportunities to use revenge as a motivating factor. Thursday night will provide them with a rare chance to atone for a loss. Nationally fourth-ranked Arkansas Tech (12-1 overall, 1-0 Gulf South Conference) and the Christian Brothers Lady Buccaneers (7-6, 0-1) will meet at Canale Arena in Memphis, Tenn., at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 13.

The game can be heard on KWKK 100.9 FM.

Click here to access an Internet stream of the broadcast. The Golden Suns were 18-0 and off to the best start to a women’s basketball season in school history when they rolled into Memphis on Feb. 1, 2010. It was business as usual for 20 minutes. Arkansas Tech built a 38-25 lead over Christian Brothers at halftime and it seemed that the dream of an unbeaten season would be extended for at least one more game. That was before CBU reserve guard Briley Milfeld, who came into the contest averaging 1.3 points per game, scored 12 of her career-high 15 points in the second half. The Lady Buccaneers shot 61 percent from the field after halftime and upset the Golden Suns 78-72. Add that to a 67-61 loss at Christian Brothers on the final day of the 2008-09 regular season --- a setback that ultimately cost Arkansas Tech a 20-win season and a berth in the 2009 NCAA Division II Tournament --- and head coach Dave Wilbers is more than ready to walk out of Canale Arena with a win. The key to accomplishing that task might be limiting production from Christian Brothers junior forward Caitlin House. The transfer from Western Kentucky University is averaging 15.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. “I really feel like House is one of the keys to containing their team,” said Wilbers. “She’s very aggressive, and she’s a hard match-up whether we’re in zone or man-to-man. She has range on her shot, she plays in the low post and she leans in and draws a lot of fouls. I think she’s the key to their team, and she gives them a piece they haven’t had the past couple of years.” House, senior forward Sheena DeBose (16.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per game) and senior point guard Normanique Johnson (13.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game) give the Lady Buccaneers a trio of all-conference caliber players. Arkansas Tech sophomore forward Jessica Weatherford looked like more than an all-conference performer in the Golden Suns’ 85-78 win at Henderson State in the conference opener on Saturday. Weatherford scored a season-high 23 points and grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds as Arkansas Tech’s women opened GSC West Division play with a win for the fifth consecutive year. Junior forward Natalia Santos (17.9 points, 7.8 rebounds per game), senior guard Jenny Vining (14.6 points, 4.1 assists per game) and Weatherford (12.2 points, 6.5 rebounds per game) all average double figures in scoring for the Golden Suns. Senior guards Laura Beth Anderson (8.2 points, 5.2 assists per game) and Shaquilah Davis (photographed; 7.2 points, 3.5 rebounds per game) round out the projected starting line-up for Arkansas Tech. After visiting Christian Brothers, the Golden Suns will return home for their first GSC game at Tucker Coliseum this season.

Arkansas Tech will entertain Arkansas-Monticello at 4 p.m. Saturday. Tickets will be available at the door. Those with a valid Tech identification card will be admitted free.